Dozens of residents of Hollywood and the Cahuenga Pass told transportation planners Monday night that they oppose plans to expand the Ventura Freeway, even if the proposal doesn't threaten to destroy homes in their neighborhoods.
Several residents, speaking at a meeting organized by the state Department of Transportation, said they viewed the $3.4-billion proposal as an unfair subsidy for people who live in the west San Fernando Valley and Ventura County and commute to downtown Los Angeles.
"I'm very against the catering to people who live so far away from where they work," said Joyce Dyrector, a television and film writer who lives in the Cahuenga Pass. "They chose to live out there and work downtown, which I think is wrong."
Transportation planners, she said, "are willing to destroy the lives of people who live here."
The community meeting, which drew about 80 people, was the first of three intended to allow residents to voice opinions about recommendations made last week by a group of transportation planners to widen the 101 Freeway by two carpool lanes in both directions for 31 miles between Thousand Oaks and Studio City. The proposal also calls for adding a regular lane to those freeway segments that have only four.
It would affect 550 acres of freeway-adjacent land and require the demolition of homes between Studio City and Ventura County, especially in the mid-Valley area. It would not require the taking of homes from Studio City to downtown.
The recommendations also include widening ramps, adding transit service and improving nearby streets throughout the 40-mile corridor from downtown Los Angeles to Thousand Oaks.
The planners, who represent Caltrans, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the La Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments and the Automobile Club of Southern California, do not recommend widening the Hollywood Freeway portion of the 101 at this time. Before that happens, they said, the congestion caused by a tangled four-tier interchange in downtown Los Angeles needed to be addressed.
The recommendations still need approval from a steering committee of transportation agencies and elected officials, which will meet later this month to decide whether to forward the proposal to the MTA board for approval.
Monday's meeting also attracted some local officials, including City Councilman Tom LaBonge.
"I love freeways," LaBonge said. "They're an important part of the transportation equation." But, he added, "We have to be sensitive to neighborhoods."
Some residents expressed support for the widening.
Roger Davis, a concert tour booker who lives in Valley Village, said he's tired of the rush-hour congestion on the 101.
"We've got to have a solution to this. The people have been saying, 'Not in my back yard, not in my back yard,' for 30 years."
Community meetings will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas, and Monday at Valley Beth Shalom Temple, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino.